This is an easy recipe for How to Make Traditional Hot Cross Buns. Enjoyed for Easter on Good Friday, these buns will have your mouth watering as you smell them baking in the oven.

Hot cross buns on a baking tray

With spices like cinnamon, all-spice and ginger just the aroma of these buns baking will have you eagerly waiting them. Studded with currants, these buns are best warm out of the oven served simply with butter.

This is the same great recipe that I first published in 2014, with updated pictures and a step-by-step video.

A closeup of a hot cross bun on a board with Easter eggs

If there was ever a food that reminds me of Easter as a child, it’s the hot cross bun. Traditionally eaten in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada for breakfast on Good Friday.

In fact, all kids growing up in England are made aware of the Easter nursery rhyme about these buns that was published in London in 1798. 

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons.

One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

A hot cross bun cut open on a plate with butter and a knife

We all know good food takes time, so there’s a little kneading involved and a little rising, the buns, not you. The dough is kneaded after mixing and then left to rise.

After the first rise, the dough is kneaded again, shaped into buns and risen for the second time. Before they are baked a cross is made across the top of the buns. This is a paste of flour, sugar and water  is piped into the cuts so when the buns are baked the cross is visible.

Tips for working with yeast

  • Make sure your yeast is fresh. If it is not, it will not activate.
  • The water for the yeast must be around 105– 115 °F (40 – 46°C) warm enough to feel comfortable on your skin to not under activate or kill the yeast.  A thermometer can help with this. 
Hot cross buns warm and shiny

How long do hot cross buns keep?

They are best eaten the day they are made. Any that I don’t eat, I keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. Beyond that, I freeze them up to 3 months. To reheat, wrap the frozen buns in foil and bake at 350°F/ 177°C for 15-20  minutes.

If you’ve tried these Traditional Hot Cross Buns or any other recipe on the blog, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!

More Easter Recipes:

Easter Chocolate Creme Eggs

Chocolate creme eggs in an Easter basket filled with hay

Yield: 12 buns

How to Make Traditional Hot Cross Buns

How to Make Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are a spiced, slightly sweet bun with currants, raisins or sultanas.

Prep Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (236 ml) warmed * see note
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups (320 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup (128 grams) currants, sultanas or raisins
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • To make the cross:
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water

Instructions

  1. Stir the yeast and sugar into the milk. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes (maybe more) until to start to see it bubble.
  2. To a mixing bowl add the flour, salt and spices and currants, mix well. Make a well in the center, add the milk and yeast, butter, and beaten eggs. Use a spoon to bring the dough together, then use your hands to make the dough to a large ball. It will be sticky.
  3. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for about 45 mins to rise. The oven turned off is a good place.
  4. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 balls and shape each  into a bun. Place close together on baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and cover loosely with a towel.  Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F /200°C.
  7. Mix the 1/3 cup flour, sugar and 3-4 tablespoons cold water to form a paste
  8. Add to a ziptop bag, remove the air and seal. Cut a little off the corner off the ziptop bag and pipe a cross on top of each bun. No need to score the dough, the crosses melt into the the buns as they bake.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown (time my depend on your oven).
  10. Add the powdered sugar to a small bowl with 1 tablespoon boiling water and stir until syrupy. Remove the buns from the oven and brush with the glaze while still warm. Cool on a wire rack.
  11. To store the buns, keep in an air tight container for up to 4 days.
  12. If you find the buns getting too firm, I like to microwave them (one at a time) for about 20 seconds, this will soften them up and also make them nice and warm.

Notes

*105– 115 °F (40 - 46°C) warm enough to feel comfortable on your skin

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1 bun

Amount Per Serving Calories 296Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 48mgSodium 202mgCarbohydrates 50gFiber 2gSugar 16gProtein 8g